Why A Good Social Media Marketing Strategy Is So Important?
Depending on your age group, you either view social media with excitement at the possibilities that it offers, or with trepidation and a degree of mistrust.
From a business perspective however, you need to ignore any negative private perceptions and consider the immense possibilities that social media offers to the brand.
“Social media is the ultimate equaliser. It gives a voice to anyone willing to engage” – Amy Jo Martin (author and entrepreneur).
Amy Jo has effectively captured the most exciting fact about social media, namely the potential for an ordinary marketer to compete on an even keel with much larger organisations. That’s if they are indeed “willing to engage”.
We highlight this, because there are no half measures here. You either commit for the long run and do it properly, or not at all. Set up a new Facebook or Instagram page and leave it lying stagnant, fail to quickly respond to complaints, or ignore requests from users wanting to interact, and you will quickly feel the wrath of irritated consumers.
If you do not have the wherewithal in terms of skills and expertise, then you need to partner up with a specialist digital marketing agency like Cliqued Media to guide you. Once you have taken the decision to proceed, have put in the groundwork in terms of strategy and have a great partner in place, the potential for growth becomes almost limitless.
WHAT IS A SOCIAL MEDIA STRATEGY?
In 2020, over 3.6 billion people were using social media worldwide. This is projected to increase to over 4.41 billion by 2025 according to @backlink.
We know that social media plays a major role in influencing the companies and brands that consumers support. By excluding it from your marketing strategy, you are handing strategic advantage to your competitors on a plate.
If you are currently tinkering on the sidelines of social media marketing without a strategy, then you may be falling into the common trap of aimlessly posting irrelevant content, on platforms that might not even appeal to your target market.
Trying to make inroads into this massive online universe without taking a disciplined and strategic approach, is like trying to push water uphill with a rake. You will get nowhere!
A social media strategy is part of the more detailed digital marketing strategy and serves to guide you in achieving your online marketing goals. It defines how you intend to use social media to achieve your aims and ensures that you approach the job in a disciplined manner.
Your social media strategy should include specific goals and objectives, a description of your target market, online platforms and initiatives for each, a media schedule, a content plan, the budget and measurement criteria for success.
Before developing your new strategy, you’ll need to:
- Decide how this will integrate into the overall marketing strategy and budget
- Determine the brand narrative that you want to communicate over time
- Identify all internal role players and external suppliers
- Fully understand the purchase patterns and behavior of your target market on social media
Although developing a new social media strategy can be a daunting task, there are expert agencies like Sonous Digital, who will integrate themselves into your own marketing team and help to develop a bespoke digital marketing strategy.
THE BENEFITS OF SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING
Although developing a new social media strategy is time consuming and challenging, your company should experience some tangible long-term benefits from the effort.
Creating an organic presence
Imagine getting millions of Euros worth of business leads, or even advertising, for free. Hardly likely in the real world of traditional marketing, but fairly realistic in the world of social media marketing.
‘Organic presence’ is the online footprint achieved by your company across the various channels on the web. It is the share-of-voice percentage that your brand naturally achieves on results pages for business searches. It comes from purely organic search results, rather than from paid search results.
A strong organic presence is achieved over time, if the quality of your content on social media is such that it attracts search engines ie: it is search engine optimised.
Increasing brand awareness
Social media is one of the most cost efficient ways of increasing visibility for a brand on digital marketing platforms. Potentially a brand can reach millions of people on a popular site. Just think of those brands lucky enough to have gone viral.
The reason why social media is so cost-effective, is because it works on economies of scale. The more people you reach, the more the bang for your buck. If you regularly post quality content, that is interesting and relevant, your company is almost guaranteed an increase in brand visibility and higher awareness
Achieving brand loyalty
A major advantage of social media is that it allows for direct access to consumers and an opportunity to increase brand loyalty. Your company can literally have a one-on-one interaction with a willing customer.
The fact that a customer is interested enough to initiate an interaction, should be a green flag for any marketer. It is an opportunity to respond quickly and appropriately and to create a potential loyal customer
Driving traffic to websites
The website is the home of your company online and the place where consumers go to search for information about your products or services. The main goal of your social media strategy should be to drive consumers to your website, where you can achieve sales conversion.
For this to happen, you will have to broaden your customer base to those other than the traditional customers that you have appealed to in the past. Social media sites, with their broad international profile, are the place to do this online.
Every piece of content that you publish on a social media platform, is an opportunity to attract new customers. Publish good quality content that they find relevant, interesting and shareable and new visitors will arrive at your website.
Creating awareness through SEO
Part of an effective social media strategy is the practice of search engine optimisation (SEO). Search engines like Google, prioritise content that they feel will be most beneficial to consumers when they search online.
A good social media strategy will take into account the need to optimise all social media content, to achieve the highest possible search ranking. This has a direct effect on brand awareness, because most people only notice and interact with the listings on the top of any search results.
Optimisation of social media content means ensuring that all content is of good quality, is relevant, appealing, entertaining and beneficial to the target audience selected. Keyword strategy also plays a role in determining rankings.
Google and others are constantly monitoring consumer behavior online and tweaking their algorithms to adapt for a better search experience.
Increasing awareness through SEO is a technical subject, best handled by professional search companies like Sonous Digital, who have experts in the field of all things relating to digital marketing.
Perceptions of market leadership
Marketing is often about creating perceptions and online marketing is no different. With the right social media strategy, your company can punch way above its weight and position itself with authority, in its particular product category.
This boils down to choosing reputable and influential social media platforms and then publishing quality content that helps to educate and influence consumers.
Creating consumer and industry forums is a great way to encourage discussion around relevant topics, where the company you can create awareness and credibility, as an authority on the subject
Accurate target marketing
As a marketer, every Euro that you spend, should be aimed at influencing a specific target audience, identified as being potentially interested in your product or service.
We all know that taking a shotgun approach to marketing is wasteful and usually ineffective. While we’d definitely like to, we can’t reach everyone of interest, even online.
A major benefit of advertising on social media is the ability to target your advert at consumers that meet specific profile criteria. This helps to make your communication more targeted and therefore, more relevant. In addition, feedback from analytical tools, allows one to identify consumers with specific demographic traits, who are interacting with your brand.
Over time one can monitor trends and build an accurate model of what messages are working best and who it is that your communication is most appealing to.
Competing on an even keel
In the normal world, market leaders are able to dominate the market purely by outspending smaller competitors. Even if their strategies are not always the best, their share-of-voice ensures a higher level of awareness. Niche marketers struggle to compete, as small fish in a large ocean.
Size of budget does not always count when it comes to social media marketing. The nature of social media evens out the playing field and allows innovative and pro-active small players to compete against much larger competition.
Social media platforms provide access to millions of consumers and organic share-of-voice can be achieved simply by being more innovative and by publishing better quality content.
Analysing & Evaluating
The success of traditional marketing initiatives is sometimes hard to track. But the opposite is true of social media marketing, where there are a host of analytical tools available to marketers.
Social media measurement tools like Sprout Social, Google Analytics, Hubspot, Snaplytics and Keyhole (to name a few), enable marketers to accurately measure virtually any metric that they want to. The list is endless, whether it be number of impressions, degree of reach, share-of-voice, level of engagement, response rate, or number of conversions.
The data available can be used to tweak content and media strategy where necessary and to ensure that you are able to account for every Euro that is spent on your social media strategy. It also allows for an in-depth understanding of your customers and the ability to grow the customer base.
CREATING A SOCIAL MEDIA STRATEGY
It is clear, that having a well thought through social media strategy, is necessary for any brand wanting to make headway in the online environment.
Developing the strategy follows the path of normal marketing planning and is based on sound research, an understanding of the online media environment, clear objectives, a defined target audience and a distinct brand narrative.
Nobody wants to be run-of-the-mill and what is evident, is that achieving differentiation and leadership in online strategy, requires specialist knowledge and skill. It takes experts that are not usually to be not found in-house, in any normal organisation.
Specialist companies like Sonous Digital, provide the full package of services to assist companies in achieving digital marketing success. As far as social media and SEO strategy are concerned Sonous will work closely with you, to tailor-make a strategy that helps to drive customer traffic to your website and that achieves sales conversion and positive ROI.
Reputation management is all about trying to manage and influence what consumers feel about your brand, having been exposed to and interacting with it online.
This is done partially through managing the messaging and content that the company puts out onto the web. And the quality of your content determines how readily accepted your brand will be by search engines.
There is good and bad. Being online can make or break your brand reputation and things do go wrong. The most important thing is to be able to react quickly to situations that arise, such as online complaints, or heaven forbid, a looming PR crisis.
Luckily there are many online reputation monitoring tools that a company can invest in to monitor what people are saying about your brand online in real-time and across all platforms. These also provide in-depth analysis, with data-rich reports that will help to guide your content strategy.
Specialist digital content strategists like Sonous Digital will include Reputation Management as an integral part of their services to clients and will provide regular reports and proposed action if and when required.
CHOOSE A CAPABLE AGENCY PARTNER
Only large organisations have the internal skills and resources required to be able to manage a comprehensive online content strategy and the challenges that it brings.
However, there is an easier way to go about generating and managing quality online content. That is to appoint a specialist digital marketing agency as part of your marketing team.
Specialist agencies like Sonous Digital have all of the necessary expertise under one roof. They will work closely with you to identify your target market requirements and to develop a tailer-made content strategy. Thereafter they will assist in generating quality content across all media types, to showcase your company and brands in a highly professional manner.
On an ongoing basis they will prepare reports and analysis to keep you fully up to date with regards to reputation management, consumer trends and behavior on your various online platforms.
You’ll need to play your part as a client, by regularly assisting with information required from within your own company and by motivating your own staff to assist and comply. But that’s a small price to pay. The increase in customer interaction, brand loyalty and conversion will more than cover the investment required.
Finally, remember that building an effective content strategy takes time, patience and commitment. It is so often a matter of trial and error. It requires the discipline of monitoring, ongoing analysis, testing and improvement where necessary. But the quality of your content will determine the growth of your company and brands in the long-run!